Closures accelerating

Five shops a week closing as summer high street sales slump

Empty-shop-Glasgow-Buchanan-Street

More shop have closed in Scotland (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s high street crisis is getting worse, with an acceleration in the number of shops closing.

More than five stores per week have shut down in main shopping destinations in the first six months of the year.

One chink of light is that openings are also increasing, though there has been a net decline across eight of Scotland’s largest towns and cities.

Research produced for PwC by the Local Data Company shows the number of shops has fallen from 3,184 in January to 3,130 in July, a net decline of 54. This represents a 1.7% fall in the overall number of shops, compared to 1.83% for the UK as a whole.

Across the UK about 16 stores closed their doors every day in the first half of 2019 while only nine opened, resulting in a net decline of 1,234 chain stores on Britain’s top 500 high streets.

Glasgow saw the highest level of activity with 46 closures, in the first half of the year, offset by 34 openings, resulting in a net change of 1.35%, a slight increase on the 1.22% recorded in the same period in 2018.

In Edinburgh there are now 1,033 shops, down from 1,050 in January, after 37 closures and 20 openings. This gives the capital a net change of -1.65%. However, the opening of the £1bn St James Centre is expected to impact on the retail mix towards the end of 2020.

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